Fire fighters need extra cash to deal with floods

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In Westminster I have asked questions of the government on cuts to firefighters in Lancashire as well as about regulations to fracking in National Parks.

Since the government won the vote to allow fracking under National Parks, I am asking the government to lay down legal frameworks to prevent surface level activity. At the moment there is no legal protection for these areas which leaves me with huge concerns.

Cat Smith - Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Cat Smith - Labour MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

The emergency services and military have done a sterling job in their response to the floods. However, the Government has failed to adequately prepare our country for the effects of climate change and the impacts flooding has on our communities.

Since 2011 Lancashire Fire and Rescue has lost 241 firefighters because of cuts. I asked the Environment Minister to consider making response to flooding a statutory requirement of the fire service and to bring with it the funding they need in order to equip our emergency services to respond in the way we all hope they will if we were to be flooded.

It is time for the UK to have a rethink about our flood defence system including better management of river catchments, from land use in our upstream areas to estuaries and lowland areas. If the Government doesn’t act now, it will only be a matter of time before vulnerable communities face further turmoil.I have continued to meet with and ask questions of the Environment Agency, United Utilities, and Natural England about our local responses to flooding. I’ve also met with local farmers, so often those with the best knowledge of our land and water issues.

Finally on this issue of the lime trees in Market Square in Lancaster, many constituents have been in touch with concerns. Trees are an important part of our urban landscape, for health and aesthetic reasons, so decisions to remove them is one I take seriously.

I want to see a proportionate response from Lancaster City Council so I have asked for information on numbers of slips, trips or falls as well as seeking assurances that if the lime trees were dangerous and removed – that they would be replaced with appropriate trees in the Market Square.